Session 7: Drow Spider Caves


Spider Cave 1

(Note: This adventure was run in December 2016.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place the next day after Session 6: Grim Manor Part II).

The party celebrated their new heroic status in Edgewood that night after the eldritch implosion of Grim Manor.  Many rounds were quaffed at the Axe and Saw Inn and many townsfolk praised the heroes.  Jana was deep in her cups that night and she took a particular liking to Kulo, keeping him in a veritable headlock every time he tried to slink away from her.  Not one to typically overindulge, with Jana’s insistent prodding Kulo was deeply inebriated. The party continued on late into the night . . .

The next morning, Velnius, Xrax, and Belladore had breakfast and discussed their plans for what they were going to do next.  The wedding caravan they had agreed to serve as guards was still a couple of weeks away.  Tanin, Kulo, and Jana were still sleeping off their drunks.  Velnius, Xrax, and Belladore gossiped a little over seeing Kulo and Jana sharing a room last night.

As the party was chortling over Kulo’s ensnarement, a young woman ventured over to their table.

Stepping up to Xrax, she addressed the Heroes of Edgewood, “Good morn, great heroes.  I beg your pardon for interrupting your meal, but I am in need of help.”

The party listened attentively and asked her to go on.

“My name is Tasha.  My brother has recently ventured into some nearby caves thinking himself an adventurer.  The fool.  He hasn’t returned in several days and I fear for him.  Would you please investigate?  The townsfolk speak of your bravery in the Karpath Estate.  The Heroes of Edgewood, people are calling you.”

Xrax asked, “Why would he seek out these caves?”

Tasha responded, “He believed they contained treasure.  But who knows what foul things he found instead.  Please, I beg of you, I need to find my brother. I can take you to the caves.”

Xrax, Belladore, Velnius with Xerbo agreed to investigate the caves.  Tasha led the party south through the King’s Wood toward the edge of the Hammer Fall Mountain range.  Shortly on their trek, they heard the cries of a man coming from the woods.  Investigating cautiously, they came upon a man who was pinned underneath a large branch.  On hearing the party, the man called to them to help release him from the tree.  Xrax moved over and with his mighty strength moved the heavy limb from the man’s legs, freeing him.  The woodsman introduced himself as Erik.  He had been out hunting this morning.  He climbed the tree to lie in wait for a deer but the limb he was on gave way and ended up on top of him in such a way that he couldn’t get leverage to lift it off of him.

The party told Erik of their intentions to investigate the caves Tasha had described.  He’d never heard of them, but agreed to accompany them, partly out of curiosity and partly because of safety in numbers.

As they proceeded onward towards the caves, they heard gruff voices ahead of them.  The party could discern the voices were goblinoid.  Advancing stealthily, the party saw in a small opening ahead a group of goblins led by a hobgoblin.  The goblins were leading two kids by rope, their hands bound each to the length of rope.  The hobgoblin was barking orders to the goblins, keeping them in line.  Some of the goblins eyed the children with hungry looks.  All told there were seven goblins and the hobgoblin leader.

The party could not let the kids be taken off to slaughter or slavery, so they acted on their moral duty to rescue the children.  Xrax charged forward ready to engage the goblins.  Belladore crept around to the side of the goblins, flanking them.  Velnius readied his crossbow for ranged attacks.  Xerbo prepared to pounce.

The goblins moved forward to intercept the warrior Xrax as he broke through the underbrush at them.  Despite taking the brunt of the attack, Xrax’s plate mail broke most of their attacks.  In return he smashed their small skulls with his large maul.  Meanwhile Belladore engaged the goblins closest to the children from the side.  Velnius set about picking off goblins from a distance, as did Erik, the woodsman, with his bow.  Xerbo jumped on the nearest goblin and ripped his throat out.  Tasha, on the other hand, held back.

The goblins fell quickly.  An archer tried to provide some return fire to Velnius but was soon laid waste.  Two tougher goblins with spears joined with their hobgoblin leader to rally their final defense, but were no match for the party.

Goblinoids and Children

The cowering children were comforted by the party in the wake of the battle.  The two children, Flower and Tommen, were abducted by the goblins after they raided their parent’s farmstead.  They choked up on describing their parents deaths at the hands of the goblins.

The party managed to incapacitate one of the goblins and set about questioning him after he was revived.  He told the party that the goblins were bringing the children back to Dragomir, their leader.  Their lair was a series of caverns in the foothills of the mountains.  The kids were to be sold into slavery.  The party stripped the goblin of his weapons and freed him on agreement that he would no longer raid farmsteads.  The party brought Tommen and Flower with them.  They asked Erik if he would be willing to protect the children at the entrance of the cave while they investigated.  He agreed.

After a few more hours travel, the party arrived at the opening of a cave that Tasha indicated was the cave her brother said he would explore.  The opening was quite large but narrowed after about 10 feet.  Xrax could not discern much beyond the first 10 feet of the cave opening as the darkness swallowed all sight.  Velnius could see with his darkvision that the cave continued for an additional 45 feet before apparently turning.

The party entered the cave with trepidation.  Belladore cast light on her short sword so that the party members without darkvision could see in the cave.  Erik and the children waited at the cave entrance.  Examining the floor for signs of passage, Belladore noticed a number of boot prints in and out of the cave.  The party moved cautiously 20 feet down the cave passageway, noticing a spur off to the left.  Up ahead, the cave turned sharply to the right.  Along the walls, wisps of cobwebs swayed gently in the air circulating through the cave.

The party decided to examine the spur, not wanting something to stalk and attack them from behind.  The spur opened up into an irregular room 25′ × 30′ at its widest.  Against the back wall were thicker webs and what looked like large spider egg sacks.  As the party moved forward to investigate the room a little more closely, movement along the irregular ceiling caught their attention.  Descending from the ceiling, a giant spider with fangs dripping attacked!  A short, but dangerous fight ensued.  Luckily for the party no one was poisoned by the spider’s venomous bite.

Drow Spider Cave 3

As the party fought the giant spider, an egg sack within the spider’s web began to pulsate as a swarm of small spiders erupted from it’s center and attempted to envelope Xrax.  The swarm was chopped and crushed in short order.

Drow Spider Cave 6

Returning back to the main cave, the party continued forward following the cave as it narrowed and turned to the right.  Webs lined the walls and ceiling at this narrowed portion of the cave and as the party sliced their way through the web to proceed further in the cave, another giant spider descended from the ceiling and attacked!  Another short battle ensued with the spider ultimately skewered in the end.  In both of these short battles with the spiders, Tasha kept her distance and did not attack.

Squeezing single-file, through the narrow portion of the cave, the space increased significantly.  The party entered a long cavern at least 60′ in length.  Cobwebs filled the closest wall of the cave.  Hanging within the webs were numerous egg sacks.  On the floor underneath the webs was a desiccated husk of a body.

The party investigated the body with caution.  A giant spider moved to intercept them as they got closer to the body.  Xrax lit a torch and started lighting the webs on fire.  As webs burned, one of the egg sacks burst and a swarm of spiders emerged scurrying towards Xrax.  The party slayed the giant spider with little effort and squashed the spider swarm under boot.  Tasha once again held back as the party fought the spiders.

Afterwards, the party motioned for Tasha to investigate the body to see if it was her brother.  She moved forward with trepidation, a sorrowful look on her face.  They turned the body over for her, but relief came over her face and she shook her head to say it wasn’t her brother.

The party moved towards the far wall of the cave.  The cavern narrowed before opening to an irregularly shaped section of the room.  This side of the cavern was thick with webs and again egg sacks could be seen throughout.  Xrax, Velnius, and Xerbo moved forward to investigate.  Xrax started lighting the webs on fire once again, but usually only portions of the webs would burn before the fire would smolder to embers.  Belladore and Tasha held back.

As the webs were disturbed, two giant spiders emerged from the ceiling and pouring forth from the egg sacks were two swarms of spiders!

Drow Spider Cave 5

Velnius, Xerbo, and Xrax found themselves in the thick of battle.  At one point, Xrax was restrained by a web shot by one of the spiders.  But the brunt of the spider’s attacks fell on Xerbo, sustaining several bites, becoming poisoned, and falling unconscious.  Velnius rallied to his mastiff’s defense lest Xerbo became spider food.

Drow Spider Cave 7

As this battle raged, Belladore held back about 20 feet casting spells to assist the front line.  Tasha about 10 feet back from Belladore, suddenly sprung into action.  Grabbing one of her daggers she threw it.  The target wasn’t one of the spiders, however.  Her aim was leveled at Belladore!  The dagger flew wide.  As Belladore spun around to confront her attacker, Tasha took off, running towards the entrance of the cave.  Belladore followed in pursuit.

Meanwhile, Xrax, Xerbo, and Velnius had their hands full with the giant spiders and spider swarms.  They finally put the last of the arachnids to the sword and heard Belladore call out for their attention.  They too followed in pursuit.

Belladore threw one of her daggers and it struck true, injuring Tasha.  But Tasha continued to flee the tunnel making gains on Belladore whose halfling legs just couldn’t keep up.  Another dagger, another hit and Tasha suffered another wound.  Tasha burst out of  the cave opening heading for the safety of the nearby woods.  Belladore followed shortly.  Erik, the woodsman, looked perplexed as not one but two of his party came hurtling out of the cave.  Belladore threw another dagger and again her aim was true.  Tasha was bleeding badly at this point, but she put more distance between her and Belladore.  The woods were beckoning.  Tasha was sure to escape!  But Belladore had one last chance.  Throwing her last dagger, the Dagger of Venom, at long range, Belladore’s chances were low, but she wasn’t going to let Tasha escape easily.  The Dagger of Venom, hurtled end over end and struck true!  The final wound was a mortal one.  Tasha collapsed to the ground.  As Belladore caught up to her and caught her breath from the intense chase, she witnessed Tasha’s face dissolve into a smooth, indistinct form.  Tasha was a doppelganger!

Back in the cave, just as Xrax, Velnius, and Xerbo were rounding the tight corner in the cave they saw a magical portal appear and a drow priestess and two drow warriors emerged.  They looked distressed at the sight of all the slain spiders.  Xrax, Velnius, and Xerbo fled the cave before being seen.

Spider Cave Drow

Paper terrain/map: Heroic Maps

Giant Spider Paper Miniatures: Printable Heroes and Brave Adventures

Spider Swarm Paper Miniatures: from cowboyleland at Cardboard Warriors Forum

Goblins Paper Miniatures: Printable Heroes and One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Hobgoblin Paper Miniature: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Flower and Tommen Children Paper Miniatures: Dryws Imperfect Creations

Tasha Paper Miniature: Brave Adventures

Magic Portal: Fat Dragon Games

Drow Paper Miniatures: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper and Kev’s Lounge





Session 6: Grim Manor Part II

Vlad the Wight

(Note:  This adventure was run in November 2016.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure occured immediately following Session 5: Grim Manor Part I and is a continuation of that adventure).

Awakening from the nightmarish images of the demon-lord and his skeletal minion, Kulo, Velnius, Jana, and Tanin blinked their eyes and steadied themselves in the upstairs study.  Looking around they noticed that Belladore and Xrax were missing.  The remainder of the party gathered themselves with Xerbo in tow and proceeded to explore the rest of this haunted mansion.

Stepping outside the study through the outer door, the party found themselves in the hallway that led to the upstairs landing.  Flanking both sides of the banister stood suits of armor.  The party, ignoring caution, simply stepped up to the suits prepared for battle.  Animating once one of the party was within 5 feet, the armor bashed and slammed the party with plate mail gauntlets.  Ultimately the party reduced those ornate suits of armor to battered piles on the floor.

The party headed back to the locked door on the second floor that they had passed when they had climbed the stairs to the second floor from the dining room.  Kulo picked the lock.  As soon as the door was opened, the hearth became ablaze and two lurching zombies attacked.  The party hacked the zombies until they moved no more.  The room was smaller than the master bedroom, nicely furnished but somewhat austere.  A leather chair sat near the hearth.  A fine rug covered the floor.  A chest near the bed revealed linens, but remembering the dagger that was found in the other bedroom, Kulo looked more closely at the bottom of the chest, finding a false bottom.  Within was a book, similar to the one found in the downstairs library.  Bound in skin, this was the second volume of Abyssal Arcana.  Tanin relieved Kulo of the book, placing it next to the first one in his pack.

Proceeding to the two remaining rooms on the second floor, the party opened the first small guest bedroom next to the stairs.  A single candle ignited on a bookshelf in the room.  Other than the bookshelf, the room contained a small bed and a chest in the corner.  A door along the southern wall connected this bedroom to presumably another bedroom.  Examining the bookshelf, Tanin discovered another spell scroll.  Kulo investigated the chest only finding linens.

The party moved on to the second bedroom after Kulo picked the lock to the door.  This room was even smaller than the last with a bedroom, chest, and a small hearth.  As the party filed in, a swarm of bats erupted from the hearth and attacked the party.  In less than a minute, the party had chopped the bats to pieces, covering the floor of the bedroom with twitching remains of hacked bats.  Examining the room, Kulo found a pouch underneath linens in the chest containing 45 GP and 75 SP.

Grim Manor Swarm of Bats

Having cleared the second floor, the party made their way to the small staircase leading up to the attic-level of the house.  The stairs opened onto a hallway with two doors, north and south.  The party entered the northern room first.  Amidst the dust and cobwebs were stacks of crates and two chests.  Apparently this was a storage room.  Holes in the room let in some ambient light from outside.  The dilapidated room also allowed four giant bats, each the size of hawk in wingspan, in to attack the party rooting among the boxes in the room.  After skewering and disemboweling the bats, the party returned to their rummaging of the room.  The crates contained relatively worthless household goods (i.e., mildewed linens, plates, and utensils).  The two chests were locked, however.  Kulo went to task unlocking the chests.  The first revealed a silvered short sword as well as a pouch containing 31 GP and 143 SP.   The second chest turned out to be trapped which Kulo hadn’t noticed.  A poisoned dart shot out from the chest and punctured Kulo!  Luckily the poison on the dart had dried out and had no effect.  Inside the chest was a large, ornate key.

The party moved to the southern room in the attic.  As soon as they opened the door they were assailed by a swarm of bats that roosted on the rotten remains of the ceiling.  The swarm was reduced to bat bits and pieces in half a minute.  The small room held three beds, apparently the servant’s quarters.  Searching the beds turned up a pouch hidden in one bed containing 110 SP.

With key in hand, the party descended levels of the house, deciding to stop first on the ground floor to clear out the kitchen area they had passed before.  Entering the room they had peeked into before, the party avoided the bites of three giant rats in this small, dark storage room. Barrels filled the corner so movement was very limited.  Nonetheless, the rats were skewered fairly quickly.  Listening at the next door, the party heard similar sounds coming from what must presumably be the kitchen.  Charging in they found themselves in a spacious kitchen, a large hearth suddenly ablaze, and on a table in the corner several of those eerie red candles ignited.  Five giant rats that had been prowling the kitchen, turned to attack.  Between the bard, rogue, fighter, ranger, and hound, the rats didn’t have a chance.

Ready now for the final confrontation, the party found the stairs to the cellar and headed down into the dark depths, torches ablaze.  Turning a sharp corner at the bottom of the stairs revealed a long corridor that opened onto another hallway about halfway down.  At that junction between hallways stood a brazier that ignited as the party made their way, casting this part of the cellar in malevolent flickering light.  The party made their way down this hallway that turned to the right passing a door to a room to the right in order to see what lay beyond.

The hallway opened into a large main room in the cellar, the only light provided by the brazier at the back of the hallway and the torches held by the party.  A table and chair made up its only furnishings.  In seemingly every dark corner and shadow could be seen beady eyes.  Moving into the light eight giant rats pressed in on the party for a taste of their sweet flesh.  The party responded with sword, rapier, crossbow bolt, and glaive, leaving the room a vermin butchery.

The party doubled back to the first door they had passed.  Opening the door, they  found a storeroom containing a barrel, a crate, and two chests.  The barrel and crate were empty but both chests contained skeletal remains of a humanoid.  Tanin and Kulo searched further looking for hidden loot.  Immediately, two spectres materialized from the walls, summoned by the disturbance of their remains, and began attacking the party.  No easy vermin were these undead, giving the party a hard fight before succumbing to their attacks.

Moving on to the room opposite of the one just explored, the party discovered another storeroom, but this one held a most unusual find: Belladore and Xrax, frozen in a moment of terror, their faces contorted in fear.  Looking closely, the party saw that they appeared alive, yet immobile and waxen.  No amount of jostling or shaking woke them from their trance.

The remaining small rooms in the cellar also were storage rooms of little interest, holding moldy and useless household goods.

The party approached the last door along the far wall in the cellar with trepidation.  Kulo tried the door, finding it locked unsurprisingly.  Taking a breath, the party steeled their resolve.  Kulo inserted the key found in the attic in the lock, turned it, and heard the door click unlocked.  The party entered the room expecting the worst.  Against the back wall laid a coffin surrounded by a score of eerie red candles that ignited as soon as the party stepped inside the room.  A skeletal warrior rose from the coffin in the same instance, brandishing a mighty sword.  To the left and right of the party, stacks of crates, barrels, and sacks lined the walls.

The warrior spoke, “You have released me from this imprisonment.  I will reward you with life after death as minions in my army.”

Tanin replied with, “Perhaps we could work out a deal where we let you go in exchange for some treasure.”

The wight turned to Tanin and said, “You have my scimitar.  You met my brother and his wife in the tomb.  Now let me introduce you to my sisters.”  And with a sweeping motion of his hand, Vlad, the skeletal warrior, motioned to the corners of the room, where two ghastly forms moved into the light.

Tanin shrugged and looked to the party members and said, “Well, it was worth a shot.”

The final battle at Grim Manor began as the ghasts closed ranks around Vlad and attacked the party.  The fight was hard and brutal.  The party found their weapons did not do as much damage as they could against Vlad, except Tanin’s magical scimitar and Kulo’s silvered short sword.  Vlad’s sisters clawed at the life’s blood of each party member they could reach, at one point paralyzing Kulo, leaving only Tanin able to do significant damage against the wight.  Vlad appeared to target all of his attacks against Tanin, seemingly focused on the wielder of the Blade of Dark Deeds.

At the first significant damage against Vlad, the house was rocked by a significant tremor almost knocking people off their feet!  Tanin, Velnius, and Jana continued to press on hacking at the undead from the abyss.  Again, as more significant damage was done to Vlad, the house shook with a tremor, this time stronger than the last.  And again, people were knocked prone by the shock wave.  But the party held firm and continued to slice and pierce the enemy! Tanin slashed Vlad again with the scimitar seemingly bringing the wight to the edge of oblivion.  A much stronger quake rocked the house and most everyone was knocked off their feet!  But the tide had turned.  With one final stroke, Tanin slayed Vlad.  The sisters soon met the same fate as the party, with Kulo regaining movement, were able to target their attacks on them.

The party searched the coffin for treasure, finding a chest with gold filigree.  Inside they found an unusual dagger (later identified as a Dagger of Venom), a ring (later identified as a ring of protection), and what appeared to be a potion of healing.  In addition, there were five onyx gemstones in the chest.  But as the party was searching the room, another wave of shaking hit the house.  It appeared that the house was unstable as the quakes got stronger and stronger, knocking the party members off their feet if they weren’t prepared.  With haste, the party rushed to exit the building.  As they made their way back through the cellar, the were greeted by Belladore and Xrax who had been revived from their paralysis.  The party in full ran full tilt out the manor as the very foundation started to crumble and the house violently shook apart.  Just as they managed to escape the house, Grim Manor collapsed inwardly on itself in a great upheaval.  As the dust swirled, the party saw a faint image of Mina smiling at them before disappearing.

Outside, the mist that had shrouded everything was now gone.  The night was crystal clear.  The guards who normally watched the house, surprised by the sudden collapse of the manor, collected the party and brought them to the garrison for questioning.  After a long and thorough interrogation by the garrison commander, the party was let free to go.  The garrison commander told the party that they would now likely be regarded as heroes in the town.  Grim Manor was cursed and haunted.  The people of Edgewood would be relieved to see it gone.  But before letting the Heroes of Edgewood leave, the garrison commander told Velnius that he knew where he got Xerbo, his mastiff.  He said he would let this transgression go given their new heroic status, but warned not to do anything like that again or Velnius could expect a nice, long stay in the stockades.

Tanin and Kulo advanced to 4th level.  Velnius advanced to 3rd level.

Wight Paper Miniature: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper